Several experts and professionals were convened yesterday at a consultative workshop held in presence of the Minister of Gender Equality and Family Welfare, Mrs Kalpana Koonjoo-Shah, at the Gold Crest Hotel in Quatre-Bornes. The primary objective was to identify and discuss the main issues and concerns pertaining to the Information, Education and Communication Strategy and Costed Action (IEC) Plan of the Ministry.
In her address, Minister Koonjoo-Shah underlined that a fragmented approach to delivering IEC campaigns is no longer a viable option to reach the target population. She recalled that despite several campaigns organised by the Ministry, the number of domestic and child violence is on an increase.
On this note, she spoke of the importance of the IEC plan which is geared towards creating awareness, increasing knowledge, changing attitude and behavior positively. She stated that it is time to rethink current programmes and activities, and come up with an appropriate strategy and Costed Action Plan for the IEC in view of achieving desired results.
The Minister stressed that a good strategy includes face-to-face education and helping people know how to access the services of the Ministry including prevention, care, rehabilitation and welfare. Trainers and peer leaders who speak local languages and are ideally from the target population, she said, can be much more effective at adapting the IEC materials of the education session plans for specific target groups. Similarly, relevant materials, adequate resources and multiple channels are important components of a comprehensive IEC campaign, she added.
Minister Koonjoo-Shah expressed optimism as regards the consultative workshop and reiterated that much can be achieved though a comprehensive IEC intervention which emphasises long-term capacity building at grassroot level. Community engagement and the willingness to act fast is vital for the promotion of gender equality, family welfare and child protection, she added.
The workshop targeted some 30 participants namely psychologists, officers of the Ministry of Gender Equality and Family Welfare, representatives of Non-Governmental Organisations, amongst others.